LEIGH-on-Sea continued their promotion push with a routine victory over their close rivals Westcliff-on-Sea.
Leigh came into the match off the back of a tremendous victory over Hornchurch last weekend and made light work of Westcliff to continue their momentum as the season edges towards its close.
Westcliff won the toss and elected to bat first and opening batter Peter Barnes looked set to hit the away side to an impressive score after he started in emphatic style.
However, he was fast running out of partners, with Praneet Patel, Tim Wade and David Bullen the only other batsmen to get into double figures. Barnes was eventually dismissed for 89 off 129 runs, with Westcliff all out for 196 off 46 overs.
Hassan Mazhar and Joe Sexton were the pick of the bowlers, each taking three wickets for Leigh.
Leigh came into bat and reached the target in double-quick time, losing only three wickets in the 27 overs it took to reach 200.
Captain Dean Waller led by example and looked set to reach his third century of the campaign but, ably assisted by Al Lawrence, his team reached the target before he could reach 100.
Waller came in after Sexton was bowled for a golden duck and the skipper bludgeoned 82 not out from only 58 balls with Lawrence ending on 78 not out (from 74 balls) after the opening batsmen fell early on.
Simon Mather claimed all three Leigh wickets for 41 runs.
Waller said he was pleased to see his batters be selfish in their work.
“After we kept them down to a relatively low score we knew we had an opportunity and I didn’t want a repeat of what happened against Horndon.
“We fell apart with the bat that day but we were selfish at the crease against Westcliff and I am pleased at that.
“It was a very good day for us and we will look to crack on against Fives & Heronians next weekend.”
Waller added he will have several first team members back next weekend and would have a selection headache on his hands.
“It is a tricky one,” admitted the skipper. “But who doesn’t like a headache like that?”
Elsewhere, Horndon-on-the-Hill’s winning run came to an abrupt end at the hands of their borough rivals Orsett.
Horndon had won their last three games on the bounce, picking up an impressive 60 points and dragging themselves nearer to safety in the process.
But Orsett proved a bridge too far and the visitors could not match Leigh’s impressive feat of four successive wins earlier in the season.
Orsett won the toss and batted first, reaching 219-8 in their 50 overs. The target looked reachable but Horndon could not truly test Orsett and could only reach 150 from 44 overs before their last batsman was out.
Their match against Westcliff next weekend is now a must win after this setback.
Billericay were winners on the day, running to an eight-wicket win over West Essex. The visitors won the toss and batted first; making 203 runs in their 50 overs. However, Billericay only lost two wickets in the chase and surpassed the target with only 34 overs on the board.
Openers Stuart Hynes (60) and David Hinnigan (47) set the tempo before David Houghton (52no) and Paul Walter (16no) carried Billericay over the line.